For Millennials: “Don’t Keep Me Wondering!”
Frank is the 55-year-old vice-president of an accounting and bookkeeping firm. He’s seen his industry transformed by a revolution in technology.
To keep up with competition, Frank’s company has rapidly expanded its capabilities for working with virtual tools in new accounting platforms. This has meant hiring a group of technology millennials, almost all at the same time.
Wants to Connect
Frank is their manager, and to his credit, he is aware that his own generation’s work expectations and outlook were much different from this age group’s. For instance, he understands that in general, millennials appreciate and look forward to frequent feedback.
Like many managers, though, Frank must find a way to accommodate employee expectations in terms of his own finite resources and time constraints. Which of the following strategies makes the most sense?
The Q4 Answer: Leadership Through People Skills
Just because millennials expect more frequent feedback about their performance than the traditional quarterly or annual review, it doesn’t mean managers must treat it as a lengthy, daily “hand-holding.”
While managers like Frank may have to find some additional time for feedback, with practice, they can become more efficient at providing it. Feedback can turn into a habitual reflex that pays worthwhile dividends. And by the way, wouldn’t all employees benefit from their bosses establishing a frequent, effective feedback loop?
With that in mind, we can respond to the choices:
Sending out what amounts to a form-letter response once a day seems like lip service rather than really trying to provide meaningful feedback. So, while it qualifies as frequent, it ignores individuality and won’t feel very satisfying.
This response denies the premise: Millennials want more frequent feedback than employees have traditionally expected. How can Frank accomplish this in a judicious, individualized, and effective way?
The idea is to balance the stepped-up frequency with useful content. Keep in mind:
- Don’t put all millennials into a single group for devising an approach. It’s all about individualizing your process for each person — whatever is timely and appropriate for the specific circumstances.
- No matter how much employees desire frequent feedback, the actual words make all the difference to each individual. Be clear as to where people stand and how they’re doing.
- Feedback is only half of the equation — talking through next steps and follow-up with the individual is what makes feedback powerful.